Payroll Tax Reporting and Forms

After you've given all your employees accurate paychecks and paid all the payroll taxes you owe, you’ve to file tax forms. This section provides an overview of the types of form filings required of all employers.

Federal Forms
  • Form 941. Most employers file this tax form every quarter with the IRS. It compares federal payroll taxes owed with taxes paid during the quarter to determine whether your payments were timely and whether you have a balance due.
  • Form 944. Employers who have received written notice from the IRS may file Form 944 annually instead of Form 941 each quarter. Like Form 941, it reports wages and calculates federal payroll tax liability. Most 944 filers also pay taxes once a year.
  • Form 940. All employers who pay FUTA file this tax form at year end with the IRS. Like Form 941, it compares FUTA tax liability with FUTA tax payments to determine whether your deposits were timely and whether you have a balance due.
  • Form W-2. All employers provide Form W-2 to each employee at year end as an earnings record for income tax filing purposes. You are also responsible for filing Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration.

State Forms

Wage Reports report wages paid to each employee for a given quarter. They are sometimes combined with a quarterly contribution report that calculates SUI tax owed and is typically accompanied by the SUI payment at quarter end. Most states require both a wage report and a contribution report each quarter, either as separate forms or as a combined form. (California is one exception; only a wage report is filed each quarter.) Many states also require a quarterly reconciliation for state income tax.

Annual Reconciliations. Some states require filing an annual reconciliation for income tax at the end of the year. This may or may not be accompanied by copies of employees’ W-2’s.

Cities, counties, or school districts that assess tax may also require quarterly or annual forms and may require copies of W-2’s. Check with each agency to which you pay tax.